Krishnan Srinivasan, James Mayall and Sanjay Pulipaka (Eds.), Values in Foreign Policy: Investigating Ideas and Interests

Published date01 December 2020
Date01 December 2020
Subject MatterBook Review
Book Review
Jadavpur Journal of
International Relations
24(2) 247–254, 2020
2020 Jadavpur University
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DOI: 10.1177/0973598420922730
Book Review
Krishnan Srinivasan, James Mayall and Sanjay Pulipaka (Eds.),
Values in Foreign Policy: Investigating Ideas and Interests.
Rowman & Littlefield International, 2019, 316 pp., £24.95
(paperback). ISBN: 9781786607492.
For a considerable time, foreign policy analysis has mostly abstained
from ethical considerations, though nations have often deployed a wide
range of ideas and norms in justifying their actions or criticizing the
policies undertaken by their rivals and foes. This is mostly because of the
stranglehold of political realism in international relations thinking, be it
the human nature variant or the structural one, which is dismissive of
values and ethical considerations as valid comportments of foreign
policymaking. States are supposed to be driven by the cardinal national
interest of surviving in an anarchical international system, this tradition
argues, where every state must recognize, plan, coordinate and implement
its own strategy knowing that there is no abiding security guarantee
within an order without authority. In fact, most realists have routinely
cautioned diplomats of not getting dissuaded by cheap moral talk as
morality, like law, has little purchase in a world determined by the
machinations of national power.
Liberals, while disputing this rather ghastly negative and forbidding
reading of the international system, have sought to prioritize the vectors
of the market, democracy, rule of law, and human rights, as defining
elements in the making of an open and largely pacifist world order. At
least until the globalization and the European Union (EU) looked exciting
and viable projects around which a cast of liberal consensus took shape,
the transactional, wealth-triggered, and communication-oriented image
of the world seemed a normatively attractive alternative, though not
necessarily an outright repudiation, to the realist odyssey. While values
were not central to the liberal understanding of how states made foreign
policy choices, their emphasis on domestic preference structures,
international coalitions of stakeholders, trading arrangements, and

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